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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

So It Happens Again!!!

Lightening never strikes twice in the same place. Heard that one?

Well, I’ll let you on in a little secret.

It does. It really, totally, mind-bogglingly does!! Take the cases listed here (Some of them are rather bizarre and NSFW. Just saying).

Forces of nature are random, they cannot be predicted. They follow their own chart, picking their own targets. Some people are lucky, never falling prey to these forces.

And some, like me, fall for them head over heels every single time 😦

To cut a long story short, a couple of years back, while I was deputed to work from the client side, this happened to me. It was a planned fire-drill.

(Old time readers of this blog will already be sniggering at this point)

Now I have a love-hate relationship with fire-drills (anyone in my situation would have the same). I love it because I like the safety angle, getting people to evacuate at a short notice, taking a head count, making sure all are safe and sound, getting to demonstrate how to use a fire-extinguisher, etc !

2313

I was an ERT (Emergency Response Team) member once and was quite capable of handling a crowd. I also know that a lot of ERT members are cursed under breath for disrupting work, disturbing meetings, disallowing coffee on the stairways and also for preventing people from talking on the phone during evacuation.

I understand their plight. Been there, done that.

B-U-T. one thing I’ve never done as an ERT member, is to target an innocent 😐

But, before I further my tale, let me tell you what happened with me first.

So there I was, my first day at the client side,  talking to my manager, taking in the surroundings and the silence (used to a loud,  boisterous work-culture at my company), getting spooked at the eerie way people were glued to their monitors , with not a whisper from anywhere, when suddenly, a voice pips up.

“You need to go down right now”.

I turned to see a young lad (may be older, but the stray whiskers on his upper lip indicated otherwise) with a notepad and pen in his hand.

“Excuse me”, he repeated, “You need to go down right now”.

I looked at my manager. She looked at me, both puzzled deeply. It was my first day on the job there and I don’t think I had a run-in with the law or something!

“Err…why”, I asked politely.

“Because we are having a..”, he straightened up considerably,”…fire drill”.

I looked around. Everyone else was seated, quietly doing their business.

I was specifically being asked to go down first in a fire drill.

Déjà vu much??

Hell yeah!!

The ignominy, the irony, the sheer lighting on my head was enough to set a blaze in my eyes. My entire body stiffened with indignation, at which, the astute lad (he must be astute, to be an ERT member) immediately changed his track – “Is there any pregnant or unwell member in your team ? If yes, they need to evacuate immediately before we can start the fire-drill”.

Quick thinking, I must say. He realized, within a fraction of a second, that the woman he had assumed to be much pregnant, was indeed, not!

Without a backward glance, the lad quickly made his exit, no doubt exhilarated at the thought of escaping my wrath.

I looked at my manager, who, by now was a helpless mass of giggles, clutching her stomach and almost doubled over her seat.

“Yeah yeah, laugh away!!”, I lamented, “YOU were seated, that’s why he didn’t target you!!”.

My manager couldn’t reply to that. She was still busy laughing her guts out.

Me, I made my way to my seat, cursing for the umpteenth time, the extra fat clinging on to me .

Of course I was furious, of course my face was burning with humiliation and of course I had to share this news with the BF.

Trrring trring……I called him later that day.

“Hello, whats up”, says the BF.

“We had a fire drill today”, I started.

“WHAT?!! OH NO!! DON’T TELL ME!!! I THINK I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT”, saying which the dear husband started guffawing as loudly as the international lines would allow him!

And therein, dear friends, lies my sad tale.

I am struck again and again and again 😦

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Sticky Wicket

No, this isn’t about cricket.

I abhor cricket from the depths of my soul and it would be sacrilege of me to dedicate a post to it on my blog.

(I need to do a penance for the last two lines itself 😐 . AND for the title 😦 )

I’m in a little tricky situation these days.

My children go to a day-care that is run by a lady who is Jain. She is very good with the children and I don’t have to worry about them while they are at her place. She makes pretty good lunch dishes for them and I must confess, she is responsible for making the twins enjoy their cabbages and bhindi. Being an ex-English-language faculty, she is also responsible for the twins picking up English faster than their classmates. Also, she’s the only available day-care near my place and I’m heavily dependent on her!

My only concern is regarding what she feeds into my children’s minds.

Earlier, I didn’t pay attention to the one-off comments, but with Eid-Ul-Zuha around the corner, she has upped her ante and keeps bombarding the twins with statements which are disrespectful of our religion.

“Only cruel people kill goats”.

“So many animals will die. When they go to heaven, they will complain against you”.

“Eggs are nasty things. They make normal people like me vomit”.

Obviously, the twins are mighty influenced. They are ready to give up their eggs and chicken because the day-care lady says so !

I did try to convince the two that sacrificing of a goat to feed the poor is not a crime. It is ordained in the Quran and is by no means sinful. Also, it is possibly the only ‘ritual’ in Islam. For people who cannot afford a goat, giving even grains to the poor is acceptable. The crux of the ritual is to feed poor people what they would not normally afford to eat.  Also, the leather from the goats is used in leather factories for making shoes, belts, etc. What I want to say is that the sacrificial goat is not wasted.

This was a little heavy for the twins to understand, though I put it forward in the simplest manner possible.

My concern is, should I confront the day-care lady about this? Communal statements aside, she is rather good with the twins and takes care of them well. For this reason itself I’ve been keeping quiet all along. But it irks me to find her feeding negativity about our religion to my children. I don’t force vegetarians/vegans to change their choices and I don’t expect to change mine for them. Then why should my children be coaxed to do so?

There is a lot more cruelty towards animals happening around us. Hundreds of birds are killed annually during kite-festivals, of which some birds are already in the endangered species list. Plenty of animals suffer food poisoning around Holi and Diwali, not to mention other ailments due to loud sounds (We lost a much loved pet due to a rocket that landed in his food bowl). 80% of the western world survives on meat as their the only diet. Situation is worse in countries like China & Japan. More animals are killed in road accidents than by any other means. These deaths are not accounted for or repented. But a goat sacrifice during Eid-Ul-Zuha that becomes an act of cruelty, knowing that all that meat is given to the needy & poor people?

Explaining this to a hardcore vegetarian may be next to impossible and that is one reason I’m skeptical about bringing this up with the day-care lady. But then, how exactly should I ask her to stop making my kids follow her beliefs? My kids sit with her when she performs her puja, I’ve never objected to that. My kids fold their hands and go around in circles chanting “Ram, Ram”, I’ve never told them that they cant do that in our house! I’ve been as liberal with them as I’ve been brought up to be. But there are times when a line has to be drawn.

My problem is, I just don’t know how exactly to draw that line?

Any suggestions??

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Monday Rants!

I love my early morning solitude. Sometimes, when I get up early, I stand in the balcony with a cup of tea. There would be occasional chirping of early birds, if I’m lucky, I might spot a sparrow (so rare these days) or a parrot. Pigeons flock by hundreds and are possibly the only birds I get to see at any time of the day, any day! It is a nice idyllic scene. There is minimal traffic, the air is crisp and all seems well with the world.

Imagine my irritation when this nice, scenic set-up is marred by the sounds of a man gargling. I’m assuming he’s gargling because frankly speaking it sounds like a man puking his guts out. The audio come loud and clear from some apartment close by. Within minutes, the sounds are repeated from practically ALL the apartments!

For the life of me, I can’t understand why men can’t brush and gargle in silence! I’ve never heard women make such horrific sounds early in the morning!!

I’m terribly, terribly peeved 😐

 


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Tobacco, the chewing kind, should be banned ASAP!!!

I hate, Hate, HATE people spitting gallons of goop right in front of me while I’m driving! Its insane you know, to be on the look-out for the heavy traffic as well as the shower of spit which can land from anywhere ! People in buses should be particularly banned from eating that stuff!

I think it is a disgusting habit to spit on the roads and to see people indulging in it all around you is more than nauseating. It is revolting 😐 !!

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Dussehra is over. So what do educated people of Pune do? They throng the bridges over the city’s rivers and dump large plastic bags full of flowers into the water below!  I crossed three bridges on m y way to work today and all of them were crowded with people thronging over them to dispose off the flowers! I really wanted to give them a piece of my mind. But it is difficult to talk sense to people when there are so many of them in the wrong! And I am a minority 😐

I’m not against them throwing flowers into the river. Flowers decompose. But what about the plastic bags?!

People in fancy cars were jumping out to quickly dispose of the said flowers before any cop sees them. I doubt any cop would stop them from throwing flowers into the water. It’s those bags which cause all the toxic waste!

When will people learn 😐 !!!

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When will the twins stop playing mind games with me ?!

The twins have holidays for a few days (Dussehra-Eid combined) and for the last two weeks, I’ve been preparing them to stay at the day-care for the whole day. The twins hate going for full-day stay because the other kids there come only post lunch. Even the twins go there post lunch so they have a lot of friends for company. When they go in the morning, they don’t have other friends to play with and get bored easily!

For the last two days, I’ve been thinking up tricks and treats to convince the kids. I had it all planned. The minute they start bickering, I was all set to come up with the bribes (horrible parenting, I know…..but its difficult to handle two irritable kids in the morning when I’m myself rushed).

So the twins got up in time, brushed, bathed, got into the clothes laid out for them, had their milk, didn’t crib about their lunchbox and only requested that I allow them to watch cartoon till the time BIL drops them off at the day-care.

😐 😐 😐

As I walked out of the door, with final goodbyes to the kids, I realized with a sinking heart that my babies have grown up 😦

That I actually enjoyed their bickering and my bargaining. Their mute acceptance of the circumstances tore at my heart 😦

I’m feeling a little sad today!

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To make life a little better, the twins come up with some rather precious words for their mother :-

Shobby :- “(In a very happy mood) Mumma, you know, you are very cute. You are my heavy pumpkin”.

Huh! 😐

Lui :- “(in a very pensive mood) Mumma, I’ll pray to Allah, aapki sab problem mujhe mil jaye” (I beamed at my daughter) aur meri problems aapko mil jaye”.

Yup! Exactly what I need right now.

🙄

Thats all from my side….how is your week starting up??

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Its pouring heavily this year and finally, we decided to get the open balconies covered with a shed. Now our balconies, they are rather large, the size of the bedrooms in the flats below. The flats two floors up do cover our balconies but it isn’t sufficient. If there are high winds with the rains, everything gets wet. By everything, I mean, all the extra stuff that we dump in the balcony, stuff that has no place inside the house, but no one has the heart to trash it. You know, regular stuff that every house has 😀

Anyhow, so these welding chaps came over to do the needful this week. For the last one week they’ve been welding, drilling, hammering and cutting. To do all this, they need space. To make space, all the extra stuff lying in one of the balconies is dumped in my room. That’s because,

a) it’s the largest room in the house

b) it’s the closest to the balcony.

2+2 =4

So thats how, I ended up with the clutter that is now my room.

clutter

Even as I sit here and type, my eyes hover over the stuff and I cant help but shudder to think what the BF would say if he were here to witness it.

For the record, the new stuff that now adorns my room is as follows :-

2 Plastic chairs

1 large Clothes-stand to dry the clothes

2 Cycles

2 small children’s car

2 gas cylinders

1 cane swing

1 water cooler

5Kgs of Onion and 1Kg of Garlic which had the misfortune of getting wet and are now spread to dry on a paper on the floor.

This is in addition to the regular stuff in my room which includes :-

1 double bed

1 bunk bed

2 cupboards

1 bookshelf

1 Exercycle

1 study table and chair

1 large steel trunk

two cane single-seater chairs

1 large carton of children’s toys.

Try imagining ALL the above under the roof one ONE room and you’ll know what I mean by clutter. My erstwhile  spacious bedroom has barely any space to move about in. Hopefully, by tomorrow, the men will be done with their work and I’ll finally dump the stuff back where it came from.

Right now, the dampness due to wet clothes, smell of onions/garlic and just the whole junkyard look of the room is driving me nuts 😦

(Nothing against the rains though. Love the weather, love the rains….we need all the water that God can give us 🙂  ).

I think I’m done with the oddly-timed rant. Logging off for the day.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead.

So long,

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Raanjhanaa

Raanjhanaa

Going by the rave reviews for the movie and this poster in particular, I took out some time to watch the film. For a weekday matinee show, the multiplex was rather crowded. A LOT of youngsters had come to watch the movie. In fact, for some unknown reason, I felt like the oldest member in the crowd, at least, till the lights went out. After that, it didn’t matter :).

I didn’t intend to write a movie review and frankly, this isn’t one in the real sense. Its just that, when I walked out of the theatre, I kept lamenting about how the female lead called Zoya had deceived the male lead, called Kundan, in the end. I haven’t been a fan of Sonam Kapoor, ever, and after this particular role, I vowed never to see her films again. But as I dropped cousin L back to her place (she had accompanied me for the movie) and drove on towards home, it struck me.

*BAM* !!

Wait an effing minute!!

Was I really sympathizing with the guy’s character? He, the uneducated, good-for-nothing cad who thinks nothing more of Zoya, other than being his rightful wife, irrespective of the fact that never once in the movie did she display anything more than a hint of affection for him.

Now, this is going to be a spoiler post, so if anyone of you hasn’t seen the movie yet and intend to, then kindly shut this browser window. I don’t wanna ruin your fun or prejudice your thinking 🙂

I’ll wait.

*tap tap tap*

Still here?

Al right. Let me start afresh.

A young boy has a crush on a neighborhood girl, of a different religion. He grows into a teen, the crush still exists. He stalks the girl, gets innumerable slaps and finally, the girl agrees to meet him alone. BUT, she clearly states that it isn’t because she has any feelings for him, its just that he was so consistent in his request that she felt bad about depriving him. For her, the meeting was nothing less than an act of pity.

In the said meeting, boy gets close to the girl. The girl, on finding that the boy had lied about his religion (he claimed to be a muslim, just like the girl), immediately shuns him and walks off. The boy wasn’t going to take it sitting down, so he stalks her some more, harasses her and one fine day, slits his wrist in her presence. When the girl cries out in shock and horror and hugs the boy, I could make out that it was because of compassion, and NOT love. Alas, the boy thinks otherwise. He thinks that he has made a pathway to her heart by his ‘heroic’ act.

The girl is punished for her PDA and sent away to an aunt’s place. Years later, she returns to her hometown, a much mature and educated young woman. We can see that she has grown up. But has the boy? Alas, apart from pining for his ladylove, Kundan has done nothing constructive of his life. He is still a street ruffian who runs odd jobs at Zoya’s place. Needless to say, she doesn’t recognize him when he makes googly eyes at her. For her, its just an errand boy hitting on her. Kundan tries his best to revive her memory, succeeds and when she gets friendly, starts stalking her again. All her laments , that she was never interested in him, fall on deaf ears. He wants her back and will go to any lengths to get her.

Some people say that Zoya used Kundan. As I see it, she asks for his help twice. Once, to get rid of a prospective bridegroom and the second time, to convince her father. Kundan could have refused both times, but he didn’t. He does help her, but takes it as his due that she is indebted to him for life. Even when Zoya tries to thank him, he rebukes her for rejecting him. So driven is he by his selfish sentiments that he wrecks one havoc after the other, all in the name of love.

Zoya loses a loved one because of Kundan and instead of moping in one corner or running into his arms, tries to channel her grief into supporting the political party of her departed fiance. One would have expected that at least now, Kundan will leave her alone. But nah!! He bulldozes his way into her college campus and then into her political party, reminding her every second of the humiliation and loss that she suffered at his hands? Was this, his way of redemption? It was a very poor implementation if that is what he intended!

Left with very little option, Zoya tries to get rid of Kundan, who had been clinging onto her like a festering wound, refusing to heal and let her be at peace. She knew the consequences of her actions and also publicly accepted her guilt.

Alas, we were left with sympathizing with the guy.

Why didn’t we sympathize with Zoya earlier?

Was it because the guy, in order to teach the girl a lesson for refusing his advances, hadn’t thrown a bottle of acid on her face yet? Well, he wasn’t a picture of peaceful devotion either. Beating up a female childhood friend? Check. Using her unashamedly for his selfish purposes? Check. Driving into the river on a bike, with Zoya, in a fit of rage? Check. Proposing marriage to childhood friend and then dumping her at the last minute? Check.

There is something really wrong about portraying a woman as evil because she chose to live her life on HER terms and not some street ruffian’s. Why didn’t we root for Zoya  right from the beginning? Can it be called a ‘sweet love story’, when clearly, it was more about harassment and ego? One man’s at that!!

In a country so full of misguided youth who believe that any woman who refuses their advances doesn’t have a right to live in dignity, do we need such cinematic ‘heroes’ who show the wrong way? Is slitting of wrists the only way of achieving love? Of protesting? Isn’t it an act of self-pity ? When Zoya does it, we can understand, her loss is much more grievous. But why does Kundan do it so frequently? With his frame, he cannot afford to lose blood at the drop of a hat.

Street-sexual harassment, or ‘eve-teasing’ is a serious crime. It has extremely serious repercussions on the victim. Kundan’s stalking of Zoya for 8+ years and her continuous denial of ‘love’ show us two aspects to this ‘love-story’. An unemployed youth, with nothing better to do, will indulge in fantasies, which for him, take the shape of truth, his truth. A woman who says ‘NO’, means ‘NO’. A ‘NO’ will never translate into a ‘Yes’, even after the passage of time.

I bet a similar ‘Kundan’ did this to Sonali –

sonali

Raanjhanaa gives out very wrong signals. The movie is making quite a lot of moolah….but I’m just worried about the impressionable youth who watch this film.

We don’t need such movies right now. Or ever.

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So Wrong About Us!!

*The statements written here are not intended to be offensive to anyone. I’m mostly ranting about the depiction of muslims. Kindly excuse 🙂 *

I saw the movie “OMG: Oh My God” this weekend. It was a rather enjoyable watch as it made a strong case against unnecessary rituals and customs but not faith. Faith is unique, it is personal and it is within us. Hunting for it outside is a lack of conviction in the faith itself. The arguments in favor of blind faith were very powerful and I’m really hoping that people watch this movie with an open mind. Watch it and understand that God does not need our delicacies and fruits and jewellery. People who offer all these to idols of God, are doing what exactly?? I cringe each time I see milk being poured over idols 😦 . I’m sure many people who have seen the film would question the validity of their rituals. One friend at work had once narrated an incident where a ‘pujari’ refused to perform certain rituals for the friend’s house-warming ceremony. His words were, “There is no need. The process of following certain age-old rituals is equivalent to carrying the corpse of your ancestors. It serves no purpose but weighs you down unnecessarily”. We were mighty impressed by this, mainly because  it came from a priest, people who are themselves sticklers for rituals !

Anyhow, I digress.

The bone of contention that I had to pick, was that like every other Hindi movie, this one too was highly inaccurate about the Muslim way of belief.  As always, I shook my head in dismay at the wrongful depiction of Islam and its rituals. How difficult is it really, to get hold of a regular muslim and just ‘ask’ him about the religion?

I think the earliest perpetrator of fueling misconceptions was that sorry tale of a romance, wedding and divorce, called “Nikaah”. For years I’ve been fending off remarks on how muslims either live in mansions or in shanties. Sorry, but there is a HUGE population which lives in between the two levels.

For years I wasted efforts in telling friends that saying “Talak, Talak, Talak” three times in a row does not qualify a divorce. The method of claiming Talak (according to Quran) takes months!! Each utterance of ‘talak’ should be separated by a period of one month, during which the families have to try and reconcile the two parties. The ‘talak’ should be uttered in the presence of witnesses and religious priests.  Also, if the priests or family elders believe that the warring couples can be reconciled, given time, then a divorce proceeding may be extended by a few more months. Lastly, the most important part, women have an equal authority to demand a talak, only that, in their case, the word is ‘Khulla’. Irrespective of who asks for the divorce first, the woman is entitled to alimony/maintenance and Mehr (if she has children) or just mehr (if she doesn’t have kids).

There were plenty of ignorant muslims who used the movie as an example to obtain a quick divorce. There were variations, wherein coward men sent across their intentions via the phone/internet. The worst part was that many other ignoramuses fell for the ruse and didn’t bother to check if the other party was following the correct Islamic practice.

There are plenty of fools in every religion and I guess we have our fair share too 😐

But it isn’t just about “Nikaah”. Even new-age movies like “Dilli-6” go wrong. In one of the songs, Abhishek Bachchan is shown kneeling down for a Sajda. Shooting in the Jama Masjid, how long does it take to observe the hundreds of muslims praying there to check for the correct posture, method? So Abhishek bows down and touches his forehead to the ground, where everyone else around him touches the nose along with the forehead, which is the correct method. It might seem like a trivial matter, but really, it peeves me to no end!! And No, we do NOT pray with the Quran in front of us. Karan Johar, you got it all wrong in KKHH !

Coming back to OMG, I couldn’t help but agree with movie  “OMG”, mostly because this is exactly what Islam preaches – do away with irrelevant rituals, customs. Allah just needs your love and faith. As long as we have the love of Allah in our hearts, we don’t need to do anything else. What is namaz, if not the interaction between us and the Lord above?? You directly pray to him, without the constraints of a third party, without the barriers of barricades without the worries of monetary payments! The only reason muslim men go to the Masjid (a simple room with bare walls) for prayers is because the Quran directs men to pray as a group, though each one’s prayer is his own.

When Paresh Rawal’s character questions the beliefs of the religious heads, regarding Islam, he questions the faith of ‘chadar chadhana’ at dargahs. Well, you know what?? A LOT of muslims worry about the ‘chadar chadhana’ ritual ourselves! It amuses us to see people of other faiths coming to the dargah to ask for the pir/baba’s blessings, whereas us muslims go to the dargah to pray for the pir/baba! To beg Allah to shower all his mercies and benevolence on the person who came this far east to spread the message of Islam. To thank Allah for sending the messenger our way (A lot of my friends believe that Islam was brought to India by the Mughals, which is equal to believing that Chinese food was brought to India by Chinese, when in actual, it was brought to India by Tibetans and Nepalis. There is a difference there. I hope my analogy makes sense 😐 . Mughals were responsible for very few conversions. Its is people like Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, Delhi, and Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz, Ajmer who had better success in preaching about Islam. The earliest converts were people from lower strata of the society, who were tempted at the security of equality and brotherhood as a way of life).

I bet this is one fact you didn’t know, right?? Not many people do 😐 

We don’t ask the pir/baba to help us. He cannot, since he was a mortal human himself. The only one who may fulfill our wishes/prayers is the one God above.

The other kind of muslim stereotyping is with the clothes we wear. For years, movies showed muslim women wearing shararas(one piece lehenga) and ghararas(divided lehenga) at home!! Get real people!! Muslim women wear shalwar-kameez or Saris at home. Even the rich ones! And no, pathanis are not the sworn dress code for men. Sure it looks good, but most muslim men would wear a pathani only on a Friday for the afternoon prayers (which are similar to Christian’s Sunday mass – prayers followed by sermon). The rest of the time, they wear regular clothes, you know, the trousers and denim kind. Surma is mostly used on special occasions, like Eid, except for women, who may apply it whenever (like me, who uses is every single day!).

There are a few exceptions though, like the movie Aamir, where the lead was from a regular muslim family, whose sister and brother wore regular college attire – jeans and t-shirts and whose mother was in  sari. They didn’t need to display superficial visual aids which screamed out “MUSLIMS”.

Anyhow, I think if I linger any longer, I’ll get on a tangential train of thought. So for now, I’ll just wrap up by saying that Hindi movies, in general, do a lot of disservice to muslims. But then, they do a whole lot more damage to the other kinds, Sikhs, Parsis, South Indians….which is really a pity 😦 . I’ve lived in Punjab for three years and I know that very few Punjabis are loud and boisterous. The people I’d met were mostly pleasant and dignified. They are colourful, yes 😀

On an aside, we had a discussion at home once, on how the muslim community started celebrating the ‘Urs’ or death anniversary of a religious saint when such acts are prohibited in the Quran. The FIL said that a long time ago, when Islam was still new and muslims were spread far and wide, the Urs was a means of having a social gathering…..of having like-minded people come together, share knowledge, learn Arabic, teach the Quran. Slowly, over the decades, it turned into a circus. Though some muslims in India still celebrate the Urs in Ajmer with great fanfare, it is an activity which is mostly looked down upon by muslims around the world. Why? Because the Urs allows baseless rituals, like carrying a plate of goodies or flowers on your head for the Khwaja to fulfill your mannat.   This is exactly what Islam is against 😐

There!! I went on a tangent again. So I better stop now. Else there will be no end to this post.

Once again, this post isn’t meant to offend anyone, but in case some statements have inadvertently done so, then I forward my humble apologies.

Be at peace 🙂

 

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Of ALL the months in a year, I guess I’m least inclined towards the month of June! For as far as I can remember, June is the month when –
* Vacations get over and school starts *groan*
* We move to a new classroom (usually a dump after the seniors vacate it), make new friends and start getting used to new teachers.
* It starts raining.
* People normally fall ill.
* There are no occasions to bunk the routine. No festivals, weddings or celebrations.
* There is very little fish 😦

Needless to say, most of my grumbles rise from school perspective. Continuing on the second point – Dad’s transfers ensured we entered a new school every 2-3 years. I was apprehensive about the first day at school even when I joined a new one when in 12th! And we know how that went!!

Earlier, this sinking feeling was mine alone, but lately,I think I harbor the same sentiment for my kids! Right now, the kids aren’t complaining about the new classroom or new teacher or new friends, or the rain or the fish for that matter!!! But they’re my kids! So I expect them to be expert cribbers in a couple of year’s time 😀
They have the liberty to enjoy themselves!! They aren’t the ones who have to cover a zillion books in brown paper and label them 😐 . And just when I send those books to school, their teacher sends a note that the books aren’t covered in transparent plastic !!
For Gosh’s sake!! They’re covered!! Isn’t that enough?? The books will only leave the school when the kids move to the next grade, sometime next year. What on earth do they want the plastics for?!!
*grumble grumble*
Anyhow, back to June.
I’ve never liked this month much. More so lately. It is supposed to rain. I like the rain. What I don’t like is the waiting one has to do for it! Every day, the skies are overcast, the day is gloomy and hot and we have no rain. Each time we look up, it seems as though it would rain, but it doesn’t. The only water-fall that occurs, erupts from a million pores in the form of sweat. Most people become walking water-fountains 😦
In my bike’s dicky (who ever coined this term, pray tell me 😐 ) I carry a jacket (for short rainy spells) and a raincoat for longer rainy spells. But since the sun still blazes in all its glory, I need to carry a scarf, gloves and glares. In short, my dicky (eeks!! I need to find a new name for it ASAP!!) is stuffed to the brim with rain essentials, so my purse now dangles on the bike handles and the helmet rests on the foot-rest (Oops!! Sorry Bro. I do wear it , I swear, right before entering the office gates and just before exiting them 😐 !!! )

The only plus point till now is that there is a constant breeze all around. So even if we have a power cut or the sun is blazing down, there’s a nice cool breeze blowing away to cool those frayed nerves. Now, I like the breeze….but not when it turns into one of those whooshing gusts which whip your clothes off the clotheline to deposit it nicely in the middle of the road (reachable) or at the roof edge of a nearby building (unreachable). “Why not put a clothes-pin, then?”, you wonder to yourself as you read this part. And I would say, “I’d LOVE to, if only the Terrible-Two hadn’t already demolished a few and thrown away the rest 😐 ” !! A clothespin is the LAST thing you would find intact in the MomOfRS household.
*Sigh*
I hate this month. I seriously do.

The reason this rant came up is that we had a team lunch yesterday (So??!!)
Well, we went to this reputed Sea-Food restaurant near my office. It usually has some awesome, fresh sea-food. But yesterday was an unlucky day for me, I guess. The fish we ordered didn’t smell very good 😦 . Clearly, the specimen was either dead before being picked out from the waters or was definitely waaaaaay past its prime. There’s a reason we are advised against eating fish in the months that don’t have an ‘r’ in them :(.
I know, I know! July and August don’t have an ‘r’ in them either!
But they have RAIN!!!!
June, I hate you so much!!!
*Sob*
*Sniff* Sorry folks….I haven’t been myself lately. Its all this stress over the uncovered books (two weeks past their submission dates), the production deployment at work (this weekend) and the cookery competition finals (Today)!!
So wish me luck to get through the day!

BTW, the post on the first round is due. Will do it once we get through today. I’ll club the items and recipes of both the rounds in the same post. Along with the pictures. Of course 🙂
Till then you all, be Good 😉



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//For some unknown reason, my images refuse to get displayed on this page. WordPress is acting Wonky but I cant really blame it because my office firewall is playing truant 😐 . Kindly adjust 🙂 //

A funny thing happened a couple of days back.

I was at the chemists store, waiting to get a box of Pediasure for the twins (highly recommended by the pediatrician!). A man walked in and this is the conversation between him and the shop attendant(SA) –

Man : Do you have face cream?

SA : Yes sir. Which one do you want?

Man :  (looking around vaguely) Just anything….any plain face cream for men.

SA : (Dumping a few brands on the counter) Take this, Emami skin cream.

 

Man : (giving an embarrassed laugh) No no. I don’t want fairness cream. I just want any normal skin cream.

SA: Garnier sir?

 

Man : (Taking a look at the Garnier box ) I said I don’t want fairness creams. I don’t intend painting my face white!

SA : Sir , we have just these two and Vaseline.

Man : Give me Vaseline.

(The shop assistant hands over the tube of Vaseline face cream)

 

Man : Oh No!! Yeh bhi whitening?!!! Don’t you have any normal cream??

SA : Sorry sir….we have only  these creams 😦

(A helpful lady, overhearing this conversation, pipped in)

HL : Why don’t you try Vicco?

Man : Vicco?? Isn’t that a toothpaste?

(Clearly, this man must have been an NRI!! Imagine, living in India and never hearing of Vicco Turmeric :O !!)

SA : (Placing a tube of Vicco turmeric on the counter) You can try this Sir…very herbal, good for skin.

 

By this time, even I was quite piqued by the array of face creams.

Me :  (to SA) Whats this “WSO” in this cream?

SA : Its for “Without Sandalwood Oil”.

Me : Oh!

Man : Oh!

HL : Oh!

Man : …And, how does that help?

SA : No idea sir. But regular use of this cream will make you fairer. The turmeric is for fairness.

Man : AAAARRRGGGHHHH!! Isn’t there just one simple cream that I can use?? How about Nivea??

SA : Sorry sir, we are out of stock.

Me : (taking serious pity on the guy’s plight) Why don’t you try Boroline?

SA : Yessir. Very nice fragrant cream.

(And he dumps the dark-green tube on the counter)

 

Man : I hope this isn’t a fairness cream 😐

SA : (laughing ) He he!! Why you need fairness cream sir?! You are already very fair.

Man : 😐

Me : 😐

HL : |

SA : Ohh sorry, you don’t want fairness cream!! But we get demand only for whitening creams sir…thats why we have to keep it. Everyone wants to become fair now! He he  😀 !!

Man : (paying for the tube of Boroline and turning to me) Thanks.

Me : You are welcome.

The man left the store, but I was left with many a questions in my mind.

Firstly, why indeed are Indians crazy about becoming ‘white’ ??

Why do movie stars, who are already fair, have to endorse fairness products? Do they really believe in the product? Are they aware of the psychological impact their actions have on millions??  Do they feel accountable for what they do?

Why do men have to look pretty ALL the time?? Is it a crime if they sweat at a game of tennis??

Why do women have to be white ALL OVER?? Earlier it used to be just about the face. Now they’ve gone into regions which are best not mentioned 😐 !!

A long time back, when we were looking for proposals for my sisters, I remember guffawing at the “wanted brides” section. “Tall, fair, convent educated….” , went the requirement list. Some people, who wanted to clarify that by fair they didn’t means the bride’s sense of justice, would word their requirements as ,”Tall, gori, convent educated….”.

“You know Dad, going by this list, I will never get married through the arranged marriage system 😦 ” , I once confessed to Pop.

“Hmmpphh”, was all he said, busy with his morning papers. Obviously, his daughter’s marital prospects were of least concern to him 😐

It wasn’t so funny when we had people coming over to our place and then rejecting my sisters because they didn’t find them fair enough! For the record, one of my sister is just short of being milky-white and the other was fairer than the term “wheatish”. In such demands of ‘white’, what hope did I have? Luckily, the BF (who is around 8 shades lighter than me) never bothered about the colour of my skin. Just as well 🙂 …it isn’t even a topic of discussion between us…has never been!!

My sisters finally got married to men who saw beyond their skin colour. I’m glad to say, they have perfect spouses (touch wood). Conversely, my bhabhi (who is around 15 shades lighter than my brother) never bothered that Bro was three shades lighter than Rajnikant! All my siblings had arranged marriages. They all get along fabulously with their spouses. And I’m sure, none of them would ever, EVER suggest the other to use any kind of so-called skin whitening products.

Then who uses them??

The people who  use these creams are the impressionable youth.

It is used by youngsters fresh out of college or young men/women available on the marriage market. It is used by young men who are advised that girls are attracted to only the fairest amongst them. Young girls use it believing that the same expectations rise from the guys.

It is used by youngsters who are easily influenced into believing that to achieve ANY success in life, they have to look fair. That employers are more impressed with their glowing looks than their capabilities.

Every time such an advertisement played on the telly, I would have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My kids are not fair, but given the societal expectations, I’ll have a tough time helping them build their personalities without worrying about the color of their skin. I’m already mad at that unknown person who put it in Lui’s mind that she is not fair enough and if she wants to be, she needs to use a ‘fairness cream’. So every time those dumb ads come on screen, my daughter demands that I buy her that very cream because she needs to become fairer. Any amount of counseling on the lies perpetrated by those ads, falls on deaf ears.

“Woh aunty gorey-gorey ho gaye na. Mujhe bhi hona hai”, is her stubborn claim.

Keeping the telly switched off around the twins is the best option possible.

The only bright spark in this gloom of fairness is the latest WHO report on the use of Mercury for skin lightening (Read more here :- http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs361/en/ ). The article lists out the various harmful effects of mercury. Among the list of common culprits using mercury are (from the site)  :-

  • batteries
  • measuring devices, such as thermometers and barometers
  • electric switches and relays in equipment
  • lamps (including some types of light bulbs)
  • dental amalgam (for dental fillings)
  • skin-lightening products and other cosmetics
  • pharmaceuticals

“……….Inorganic mercury is added to some skin-lightening products in significant amounts. Many countries have banned mercury-containing skin-lightening products because they are hazardous to human health.”

Obviously, India is NOT one of those countries. I doubt whether the Government itself would think of pulling down the shutters on a 2000 crore industry (and growing), if these reports are to be believed :-

Skin whitening trend driving male cosmetic market in India

“……Having amassed a dominant share in the Indian men’s cosmetics market, fairness creams are emerging as a key trend in the country according to a new market report.”

http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Market-Trends/Skin-whitening-trend-driving-male-cosmetic-market-in-India

 

Though this is a serious reason for concern, I don’t blame the men for wanting to look good. Women have been at the receiving end of being psyched out into believing that they are the ugliest, fattest, darkest damsels on the planet. Clever money-making manufacturers of fairness products have just shifted the focus on to the men now. The men have, unfortunately, bitten the bait 😦 .

If the above news reports on Indian male cosmetics market is true, then what can I say guys?!

Join the club 😐

(You know when I’ll be like, REALLY worried?? When they start making sanitary napkins for the men 😐 )

*EGAD!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *

Anyhow, to end this post, I would like to say that I personally know a couple of girls who used skin whitening creams right before their marriage (as insisted on by the in-laws/family members) and ended up with severe skin rashes. Believe me, their wedding snaps weren’t very pretty 😐 .

The only way to reduce the usage of these harmful products is to spread awareness. If you see people around you using them, ask them politely why they want to use a fairness cream. I tried it with the nanny. She was flustered for a minute, then sheepishly admitted that she thought she would look fairer. I asked her then if she has found any difference from before. As expected her reply was a simple ‘No’. I then told her to stop wasting her money on it and she hasn’t used it since. Believe me, she looks much better now 🙂 .

I only pray that this fetish for ‘fairness’ dies a natural death one day, preferably before my kids hit puberty !

On that note, have a great week ahead you all 🙂

Ciao!!

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I’m SO Ticked Off

Am having one of those phases where nothing seems to make sense.
When anger is a persistent bug on the tip of my nose.
When I feel as though the entire world is against me.
When I have this deep, DEEP desire to run away from the everyday grind.
*Sigh*
It always comes down to running away, doesn’t it? Though God knows that I’ll have to return soon enough 😐
That things will be right here waiting for me when I get back! That things will be in exactly the same state that I left them in.
This bad mood of mine isn’t helping any. The twins are supposed to be enjoying their vacations, but I haven’t done anything constructive for them yet. The BF’s Birthday came and went, I didn’t bother him with any celebrations.
(We did go out for lunch and a movie though)

I feel lazy and down in the dumps.
The vacation we were planning was cancelled due to SIL’s visit and stay at our place. I don’t blame her. She had no idea we were planning on one. The BF wanted to surprise everyone with an impromptu vacation. The only one left surprised is me. Though frankly, going by his earlier efforts at surprising people, I should have been ready for the ‘fall-flat-on-your-face’ part.
But.I love him too much 😐
So where was I?
Yeah, right here, being ticked off at the cancelling of the vacations.
And though it is passe, I’m still ticked off because I was asked to visit and stay over at the SIL’s place on the BF’s Birthday!!! I bluntly refused. Probably the first time I did that, but seriously, >i>on the BF’s Birthday?? Were they kidding me??

The nanny is still playing truant…coming one day and bunking the other. The regular maids and cook are vacationing too.
Drat it!
I think the cancelled vacation is making me more grumpy than I intend to be 😦
After a really hectic year and the last few depressing months, was really looking forward to some fun time 😦 . To spend time reading under a tree near the sea…to walk the kids along the beach…to make sand castles and moats…to eat loads of fish!!!
Alas….



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It’s a bl**dy awful day , that’s what!
It’s the second week of Feb and the sun’s burning right through the roof! I have no idea what to do with the bundles of blankets lying around the house, hopeful of being used one day. I’m sure that the day I will put them away, the sun would go behind a cloud and we’ll have a cold wave sweeping across the city. The kids would shiver under their bed sheets and the BF would gruffly enquire as to why his wife was insanely eager to put away those blankets when we were ‘technically’ still in the winter season.
Anyhow, what I wanted to say was that today I had to visit the regional passport office to submit the updated birth certificate of my son. The BF warned that there is a mad rush at the passport office and it is always wise to reach there early. So I woke up earlier than usual, did my regular chores , got the twins ready for school and handed them over to their father (to wait for the school van) and reached the passport office at sharp 09:40. To my utter horror, the place was crowded with around 200 people already in queues and more coming in by the minute. The worst part? The office wasn’t open yet….the regular timing was 10:30 AM. *GROAN*. So I stood there in the heat and the dust (yes, loads of it, because the parking area right outside the passport office was nothing more than the flattened left-over remnants of the existing hill-side. There were boulders, stones and dust galore. As luck would have it, the queues stretched right out to the parking area. So every time a vehicle came in or drove out, we were all covered with a thick layer of dust. And oh, did I mention that I was wearing white today? Well, it aint white no more  . When I finally did get to enter the building, we were made to wait in a queue. After about 25 minutes, I went in and submitted the letter that I had received. The lady official asked me what the problem was and I told her that my son’s application was rejected due to discrepancy in my name and I’ve got new documents for submission. She brusquely snatched the letter, ignored the documents and asked me to wait outside the cabin.
The ‘outside’ was crawling with people, with barely an inch to spare. After a long wait, I finally got a chair to sit. So I pulled out the latest Agatha Christie from my bag and started reading. Must have read more than 50 pages before it finally clicked that I’d been sitting for a rather long time with no updates on what I was supposed to do next. So I quickly asked one of the peons and he said that the names will be called out shortly. So I went back to my book (Thank God I had the sense to get it along!) . After another 20 or so pages, my turn finally came. I stepped in gingerly and went up to the lady official. She was definitely in a foul mood! At one point I almost lost my temper and told her that my son’s twin sister got her passport around 3 months back! And both the forms were submitted together. When exactly did the official realize that my name on the application form was ‘wrong’ compared to the one on the birth certificate, I have no clue. But after submitting documents again and again, the BF went the whole hog and had my name officially changed to carry his surname (Now this is one thing I NEVER wanted to do, but I never had a hint that these people would make such an hue and cry over it. For the sake of my son’s passport, I had to take this drastic measure  ) . I was armed with these new documents when I went in. After a lot of haggling and explaining from my side and a lot of grumbling and snootiness from her side, she finally grabbed the Xerox copies and told me I could leave. So drained was I from the experience that I forgot to ask her if the application was accepted or rejected. Later on, when I spoke to the BF about it, I realized that the lady was insinuating a little about palm-greasing and being rather ignorant about the tastes of government officials, I was rather slow to get the drift 
Anyhow, the form is submitted, I’m back in office and the ticker runs while we wait patiently for the passport.
I was supposed to get my driving license by yesterday. It still hasn’t come. Now I’m worried 
The campaigning for the civic polls is getting on my nerves. The bike rallys, the auto rallys, the followers bearing banners and flags, the children hollering slogans…..it so ticks me off! I have half a mind to cross out all these revolting parties from my options…but then, I wouldn’t have anyone left to vote for  . Thankfully, it should get over in a day or two. Also, it helps that we aren’t in the South or UP, where poll campaigning is a blatantly aggressive exercise with little or no regard to general public comfort. Pune, I love these little mercies you bestow on us 
Happy Valentine’s, to Ye who Believe.
For the rest, glad to be a part of a club that’s in love forever 

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